by James Payne
On Sunday, March 19, 2023, I sent this email to Superintendent Dr. Ivan Duran regarding my ongoing concerns of overt political activism in the Highline School District. I have yet to receive a response, so it is now an open letter:
As mentioned before, you have too many activists, and not enough teachers in the District. Taxpayers are not paying for classroom activists; we are paying for teachers. Attached is yet another example of what I mean.
You will see one of your activist teachers at a recent public meeting, using HER clearly-demarcated district-supplied laptop, who has defaced public property with stickers indicating clearly POLITICAL causes. The combination of her political stickers with the “Highline Public Schools” identifier indicates the district supports these political causes.
Your activist teacher is likely in front of students using this taxpayer-supplied laptop, and is thus intentionally influencing their political thought; something we do not accede to. This person is entitled to deface her own property, on her own time, outside of public facilities. However, she and all of the other teacher-activists under your employ (just like the ones I told you about at Highline HS), may NOT do this to our public property.
Sir, you have inherited a hot mess from Enfield, and I do not envy your situation. But you must, must, bring your organization under control (politically neutral). The political and cultural division in this district, as fostered by your activist teachers (who are public servants after all), will undoubtedly manifest into legal action and possibly violence. Something I hope we can all agree, we do not want.
Please correct these actions and see to it that no other teacher uses our public property to display their personal political preferences. Please model integrity and neutrality to your organization.